Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Rules Of Interpretation And Lessons For The Church

Adrian Warnock recently quoted extensively from some of the first exegetical and hermenuetical rules ever written down. I found the juxtaposition of the first rule he quotes and the last and seventh fascinating:
1. ". . . concerning the Lord and His body, when there is a transition from the Head to the body, or from the body to the Head, and yet no recession from one and the same person . . . and yet, certainly, it must be understood how much of this belongs to the Head, how much to the body; that is, how much to Christ, how much to the Church."

". . . knowing as we do that the head and the body--that is, Christ and His Church--are sometimes indicated to us under one person (for it is not in vain that it is said to believers, 'Ye then are Abraham's seed,' (1) when there is but one seed of Abraham, and that is Christ), we need not be in a difficulty when a transition is made from the head to the body or from the body to the head, and yet no change made in the person spoken of."


7. "The seventh rule of Tichonius and the last, is about the devil and his body. For he is the head of the wicked, who are in a sense his body, and destined to go with him into the punishment of everlasting fire, just as Christ is the head of the Church, which is His body, destined to be with Him in His eternal kingdom and glory. Accordingly, as the first rule, which is called of the Lord and His body, directs us, when Scripture speaks of one and the same person, to take pains to understand which part of the statement applies to the head and which to the body."
What do we do when we cannot sufficiently tell the difference between the devil's body and Christ's body? How easy is it to tell which head we are attached too? How sad is it that I find myself asking these questions?

I want so badly to believe Christ's body, the church, is an extension of Christ and indistinguishable from Him, but it keeps screwing up so badly. I have no problem accepting the "already, not yet" still sinning nature of an individual Christian, but when it comes to the church, I find it oh so hard. The church is supposed to be collective of our gifts and attributes, it is supposed to amplify the transformation God is creating in us. Yet, the opposite seems to be the case, it seems to collect and amplify our lower, baser natures.

Is it because we have attached ourselves to the wrong head? I don't know for certain, but I certainly do think sometimes we confuse which head we are taking orders from.

Jesus certainly played the game by a different set of rules than we do. He built no edifices, maintained no budget. He sought the lost and outcast where we seek the rich and powerful. Does this mean all that is the church is corrupt? No, but it is very confused.

This much I do know, if we in leadership of the church spent more time trying to encourage and amplify the transformation God is creating in each other, and less time trying to "build the church" I think things would improve.

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